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Durham University

Welcome to Durham University's Common Awards website

Assessing Oral Communication Skills

University Policy on the Summative Assessment of Oral Communication Skills

(Learning and Teaching Handbook, 6.1.3)

Consult this policy for information on:

  • Summative Assessment of Formal Presentation Skills
  • Summative Assessment of Student’s Small Group Teaching Contributions

Please note that this guidance is intended to be read by TEIs alongside the full University guidance on this policy, as set out in the Learning and Teaching Handbook 6.1 (Assessment Policies). The additional information below provides further clarification on the policy in the context of the Common Awards programmes.

In addition, this policy should be read in conjunction with:

TEIs will also wish to consult:

Expectations for TEIs

1.  If formal presentation skills are to be summatively assessed, TEIs must ensure the following:

a) That the standard University assessment regulations are consulted.

b) That oral presentation assessment task outlines clearly identify to students:

i. The marking criteria in advance of the presentation date;

ii. The proportion of marks which will be allocated to subject content, versus presentation skills;

iii. The presentation timing requirements and how, if at all, these impact on marking criteria.

c) That evidence of the presentation is retained so it can be made available to external examiners. Examples of evidence include: recordings of presentations; copies of students’ slides; the minimum expectation is the retention of notes from the markers, the mark proforma and feedback to students.

d) Where a student has a disability which will impact on their ability to deliver an oral presentation the TEI should make any reasonable adjustment to the assessment task.

2. If students’ small group teaching contributions are to be summatively assessed (e.g. the assessment of students’ expression of their opinions on a set reading where they are not the primary contributor), key expectations are:

a) That students are made aware, in advance of the teaching session, how their contribution will be assessed;

b) That students are given clear feedback, aligned to the assessment criteria, describing how their contribution was assessed;

c) That the proportion of the modules assessment formulated from students’ participation is aligned to the volume of the evidence collected to assess a student’s contribution.

d) That each member of a tutorial group has an opportunity to participate.